Objective: To examine preferences for improved health in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods: A survey was mailed to patients with RA enrolled in a county-based register. The questionnaire comprised a variety of health status measures (Medical Outcome Study Short Form-36, Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales 2 [AIMS2], Modified Health Assessment Questionnaire, and visual analog scale for pain and fatigue). The patients were asked to check 3 of 12 areas in which they would most like to see improvement (item 60 AIMS2). The number of respondents was 1,024 (mean age/disease duration 63.4/12.7 years, 78.7% female).
Results: Pain was the preferred area for improvement in all subgroups of patients. Preference for improvement in pain was associated with lower age, higher levels of perceived pain, and lower scores for self efficacy related to pain. One-third of the patients with this preference did not report use of pain-relieving medication.
Conclusion: Pain is the area of health in which almost 70% of the patients would like to see improvement. This study suggests that more attention should be paid to the examination of patient preferences for improvement in health.